Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America

Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America

Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America

Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America

Synopsis

Based on empirical analysis, this enthnographic fieldwork and collection of original articles on contemporary Protestant religions in Mexico and Central America examines regions ranging from the Pacific coast in the north to Guatemala in the south. These new studies reveal that Protestantism was on the rise in the last decades of the twentieth century because it was opposing political structures that were largely unworkable in a new age of economic expansion and population growth. Relying on traditional scientific principles of data recording and theory development, the contributors look into the lives of contemporary rural people, Indian mestizo, and provide data that enhances the general study of modern religious movements.

Excerpt

One of the most remarkable occurrences in Mesoamerica over the past several decades has been the rapid and largely unforseen turn to Protestantism by significant numbers of people in the region. Millions have abandoned their traditional affiliation with the Catholic Church and have embraced various forms of Protestantism, mostly originating in the United States. Protestantism is not new to Mesoamerica. It has been a presence there since at least the turn of the 20th century. What accounts for this recent unprecedented shift in religious affiliation and what are the social, political, and economic contexts that make conversion so attractive to so many people?

Finding answers to these questions is not easy. One thing is certain. Social scientists who are searching for a valid simple explanation or a single cause are bound to be disappointed. But this disappointment should not lead to postmodern despair over the validity of applying the scientific method to increase our understanding of social change. Sensitive personal non-scientific explanations are important in any discussion of religion, and we also feel that the scientific method can provide an overall framework for coordinating views of religious change. Simple single-cause explanations do not embrace the complexity of the phenomena. As discussed in the concluding chapter of this volume, human social life is complex, and providing explanations for shifts in religious affiliation may implicate

We use “Mesoamerica” to label the region south of the U.S. border and north of Columbia, South America, instead of the phrase “Middle America,” which is usually used by anthropologists as a label for this region. Our reason is that “Middle America,” especially when coupled with Protestantism, immediately brings to mind the U.S. middle class and often the Midwestern United States where much of fundamentalist Protestantism has its home. “Mesoamerica” is more commonly used by anthropologists to denote the smaller area within Middle America that was home to the great Pre-Columbian civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Maya (Dow 19%)

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.